Despite being one of the largest voting blocs in the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world, American evangelical Christians often have a penchant for framing themselves as a persecuted minority.
Recently, several events made me wonder if this persecution complex would again rear its ugly head. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on state and federal provisions prohibiting same-sex marriage, a notable British evangelical revealed his support for monogamous same-sex marriage, and two Republican senators announced their support for same sex marriage.
As if on cue, The Gospel Coalition and a less prominent blog, SBC Voices, published posts (replete with logical fallacies) last week by presumably straight, white, middle-class men that frame conservative evangelicals as persecuted for their belief that being gay is a sin.
Kevin DeYoung's post at The Gospel Coalition, Three More Thoughts on the Gay Marriage Debate, concedes that the turning tide does not necessarily spell disaster for the more conservative wing of evangelical church. However, DeYoung argues:
[A]ll the cultural arguments for “tolerating” gay marriage are not-so-thinly veiled arguments against the supposed bigotry of those who hold to a traditional understanding of marriage. What do you think the equal signs all over Facebook mean? They make a moral argument: those who oppose gay marriage are uncivil, unsocial, undemocratic, un-American, and probably inhumane.
If you believe homosexual behavior is wrong and gay marriage is a contradiction in terms, you are fast becoming, in the public eye, not simply benighted but positively reprehensible, like the last slave owner who refuses to get on the right side of history. I understand that Christians tire of the culture war, but it’s not a battle we started, and if (when?) we lose the debate on homosexuality we will lose much more than the gurus of tolerance let on.
Dave Miller's essay at SBC Voices, Dealing Redemptively with the Hate and Intolerance of the Left, describes conservative evangelicals who believe being gay is a sin as "hated, misrepresented, [and] treated intolerantly".
It is baffling to me that many conservative evangelicals consider being labeled an intolerant bigot to be on par with the treatment that our LGBT brothers and sisters endure. People -- many of them teenagers -- are killed, beaten, and/or bullied simply because they identify as LGBT. A gay teen was set on fire and died after sustaining significant burns in 2012. A bullied thirteen-year-old committed suicide in 2010. LGBT youth are significantly more likely to attempt suicide as compared to their straight/cisgender peers.
Conservative evangelicals, your hurt feelings for being called a bigot and for being viewed as reprehensible, your frustration with seeing the "equal" signs on Facebook, and your losses in the so-called culture war are nowhere near the pain inflicted upon many in the LGBT community. It's disingenuous to use terms such as "bigotry" to describe others' treatment of you. It's disingenuous, in the face of soaring hate-crime statistics, to stomp your feet and claim that you are truly the group who is hated and treated intolerantly.
I don't see conservative evangelicals in the U.S. being set on fire, abducted, and beaten for their belief that being gay is a sin, so please, cool it with the persecution rhetoric.